STaRR Training







Program Overview

With support from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Western Alliance are delighted to have commenced our centrepiece research capability building program, known as the STaRR (Supporting Translation of Research in Rural and Regional areas) Program.

The STaRR Program was informed by a comprehensive scoping exercise, which included a systematic scoping review of the research education literature and the Victorian Rural/Regional Research Training Needs Project.

The STaRR Program builds on the support from our Research Translation Coordinator positions and includes a range of translation-focussed research training activities and resources, as well as support for organisation research planning.

The STaRR training supports three key groups:

  • Research mentors
  • Health organisation managers and leaders
  • Emerging health practitioner researchers in health organisations across our region

Almost 30 research mentors have been identified across the region and have participated in online workshops to build their research translation knowledge and skills.

News: Western Alliance’s STaRRlite program is coming in 2024! 

STaRRlite aims to provide health practitioners including clinicians, program staff, and managers with some of the fundamental knowledge and skills to begin or support a team member to engage in a health research or quality improvement project. 

STaRRlite is a half-day online workshop open to all staff working at a Western Alliance member health organisation*  

Western Alliance covers the cost of the workshop and those with little or no previous research experience are encouraged to participate.  

To find out if STaRRlite is right for you, please contact your Research Translation Coordinator, Emma West (, or Olivia King ( 

*Barwon Health, Colac Area Health, East Grampians Health Service, Grampians Health, Portland District Health, South West Healthcare, Western District Health Service, Western Victoria PHN 

STaRR Emerging Researcher Training

The aim of STaRR Emerging Researcher mentored training program is to provide health practitioners with the foundational research skills needed to develop a research translation-focused project (i.e., a project that will develop evidence that will lead to changes in practice or policy, or use existing evidence to change current practice or policy). Approximately four hours of additional project work is required each week for the duration of the training program (8 weeks) to develop a research protocol or proposal. Participants often need to dedicate time after the program to finalise their protocol or proposal. STaRR participants will receive mentoring support and access to just-in-time resources to assist them. 

There will be an opportunity for STaRR participants to apply for grant funding to progress their research idea or translate the findings into practice.

Who can participate?

All health practitioners, including clinicians, program managers and health promotion staff working in health service or primary care settings at Western Alliance partner organisations (Barwon Health, Colac Area Health, East Grampians Health Service, Grampians Health, Portland District Health, South West Healthcare, Western District Health Service, Western Victoria PHN) are invited to apply for the STaRR program. We encourage those with limited or no prior research experience to apply. Western Alliance covers the cost of the training program, so you do not need to pay to participate.

Workshops overview

The training comprises three workshops (two 6-hour and one 4-hour workshop) that will be facilitated online. The workshops will be underpinned by the principles of research translation and will cover the following broad topics:

General introduction to research

Introduction to common data collection techniques

Developing a researchable question

Introduction to data analysis

Ethics and governance

Research dissemination and impact

Introduction to research methods

Consumer and stakeholder engagement

Introduction to a research translation framework

Working with your mentor

Participants’ managers or team leaders will be invited to parts of the two workshops.

All participants are paired up with a mentor to support them as they develop their project into a research protocol.

Interested in taking part?

You are welcome to contact Olivia King at or Emma West at if you have any questions about the training program.

Read more about STaRR below

To support STaRR Emerging Researchers conduct a translation-focused research project, Western Alliance offered two kinds of Emerging Researcher Grants in 2023:

Emerging Researcher Seed Grants of up to $5,000 for past STaRR participants to conduct a research project to generate new evidence, and
Emerging Researcher Translation grants of up to $10,000, for past STaRR participants and past Emerging Researcher grant recipients, to translate research evidence into practice.

To read about the 2023 grant recipients, click here.

Each year we invite Expressions of Interest for STaRR Research Mentors.

If you have experience in designing and implementing research studies/quality improvement projects, or experience developing and evaluating healthcare projects and programs, we’d love to hear from you.

STaRR Research Mentors support new and emerging practitioner researchers through the training program. The mentor can:

  • Provide feedback to their mentee/s
  • Share expertise and experiences
  • Suggest solutions to problems/challenges
  • Link the mentees with other researchers and networks
  • Support mentee/s to develop research skills and confidence

Mentors are not expected to undertake work for the mentees, monitor a mentee’s progress or be on call/meet with mentees without reasonable notice.

Mentors will be offered training opportunities, fully funded by Western Alliance, prior to supporting their matched mentee/s, and will be supported by experienced academic researchers. Benefits to mentors include:

  • The satisfaction of sharing your skills and experience with a willing learner
  • Extension of professional development record
  • Opportunity to reflect on own goals and practices
  • Opportunity to participate in health service-led research as a co-investigator
  • Opportunity to be included on a Western Alliance Emerging Researcher Grant application ($10K)
  • Build your knowledge and skills related to leading research translation in the healthcare context

 A total of 27 STaRR Emerging Researchers from 19 teams participated in the workshops. Twenty-seven mentors, and eight health managers/leaders participated in training throughout 2022.

Our STaRR emerging researcher cohort for 2022 includes people from allied health, mental health, medicine, nursing, and health program managers (e.g., health promotion, equity and access, virtual care). Our emerging researchers represent five Western Alliance member organisations: Barwon Health, Grampians Health, East Grampians Health Service, St John of God (Warrnambool), and Western District Health Service.

The inaugural STaRR (Supporting Translation of Research in Rural and Regional areas) training program concluded in November 2022. The first year of the STaRR program saw an impressive 114 participants, including 27 mentors, 32 managers and 55 emerging researchers, complete the training. Congratulations to all!

For our 55 STaRR emerging researchers, the real work has begun. Many are progressing and finalising their research protocols with the expert support and guidance of their STaRR-trained mentor. Some have even commenced their data collection!

We have received some useful feedback from training participants, which, combined with the findings of part of our formal evaluation, has given us a good sense of where the STaRR training program needs to head in future.

The pre- and post-training survey findings show that the program has led to improved research and research translation skills for many participants. As this testimonial highlights, the training proved to be valuable and worthwhile:

“Thank you for a fantastic program- very informative and the knowledge of speakers involved was next to none. Very worthwhile 2 days!”

Naturally, we are delighted to learn that the training met the needs of some participants and led to improved research and translation skills. We are also very encouraged to enhance the program further in response to feedback captured both informally and through the evaluation surveys.

Specifically, we recognise that we could do more to meet the training needs of emerging researchers with different baseline research skills and experience, and different goals. We are working behind the scenes to enhance the program so it can better support research and translation skill development in managers and leaders, who are critical to the success of any research or translation endeavour. We are also considering several other improvements to the STaRR program.